This past Saturday was one of the most unproductive Saturdays of my life. I laid in bed watching Facebook videos for most of the day, and while I was really cozy and content doing it, I knew that there was some important work that I would probably try to high tail it to finish on Sunday. I should probably actually call this post “How To Save Your Ass Before Monday.” But sometimes unproductive days are very much-needed, like when you’ve been running around all week and just want a day to be lazy. They’re sometimes good for your mental health, but bad for your GPA! You can’t go back in time and redo the entire day (oh, I wish!) but you can ensure you make a comeback so you can try to salvage what’s left of your good student rep before Monday.
1. Admit that you were unproductive.
The first step is to essentially admit that you screwed up. You had the entire day to study for Tuesday’s exam — there was nothing stopping you. You had enough sleep the night before, you ate well, you even got dressed to head to the library, but you just didn’t do anything. Netflix might’ve won that round. Now you can stop beating yourself up for screwing up and work towards preventing this from happening the next day.
2. Make a plan for tomorrow.
Create a to-do list in your favorite planner. This will help remind you of all the things you
should’ve done today but didn’t have to do tomorrow. I like writing down tasks in the best order for doing them because it helps me stay on track; I don’t have to think about which of my 99 problems I should tackle next. My plan for the following day consisted of me going to the gym in the morning, coming back to my room for a shower and heading to my second home (a.k.a. Starbucks) to get work done for the rest of the day.
3. Get your sleep (but don’t sleep in!)
Sleeping adequately is crucial to ensuring that you have enough energy the next day to finish all the things you put off. However, be careful to not sleep in! I find that when I sleep in, I feel lazier during the day and therefore less likely to actually finish all the work I planned to do. Start your day off bright and early (sure, I guess 9a.m. can count as ‘early’). I know Sundays are ideal for sleeping until noon, but you can offset any early morning grumpiness using my tips for making mornings more exciting.
4. Put errands at the top of your list.
Gotta do laundry? Need to run to the pharmacy? Want to go to the gym? Complete all these first so you don’t have to worry about them later in the day. Plus, running errands are a good way to ease into your to-do list. Personally, this helps me stay on track with everything else I have to do because my mind is too distracted to jump right into studying first thing in the morning.
5. Get dressed up.
Get dressed up??? How will this help me be more productive??? If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking that you’d spend half a day alone trying to figure out what to wear, but hear me out. How many times have you thrown on a pair of comfy sweats and a workout top and then proceeded to chill in your room because you were already comfortable so you figured: why not get even cozier in bed? Your clothes can be pretty influential on your overall mood. I find that when I, as well as people I know personally, dress nicely — jeans, a nice top and nice shoes, business casual or like we’re going on a casual date — we tend to be in the mood for getting shit done and going out of our way to make things happen. Plus, it’s a good excuse to show off how cute you look to the rest of your campus. Take your wardrobe into account the next time you’re feeling unmotivated to work. I decided to do my makeup extra nicely to put myself in the mood for tackling homework.
6. Work with a group.
Don’t feel like struggling through chemistry alone? Hit up some of your friends and propose a study group. Even if it’s just for a couple of hours, being in the company of other people who have to get shit done will help you get your shit done. I do this all the time — even though half my friends aren’t even Journalism majors. It’s just really nice to be around friends when I have to do something I don’t feel like doing.
What are your tips for being productive?